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The National Hockey League and MGM Resorts Announce a Multi-Year Partnership

The National Hockey League (NHL) announced today their multi-year partnership with global entertainment company MGM Resorts during a press conference this morning at the league offices including NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and MGM Resorts Chairman and CEO Jim Murren.

Bettman explains, “We entered into our first league-wide sports betting partnership, and we have done so with a company that in many ways is already a part of the NHL family. Today the NHL and MGM are proud to announce that we’ve entered into a multi-year partnership that designates MGM as an official gaming partner of the NHL, as well as an official resort destination of the National Hockey League.”

With sports betting taking a recent upswing in interest with gambling’s elite, and with other professional sport leagues already establishing partnerships with entertainment companies, for example the recent partnership with the National Basketball Association and MGM, the NHL is excited for this opportunity to offer the NHL fans an experience of a lifetime. With this relationship, which may I add is non-exclusive, will enable MGM to have access to the NHL’s intellectual properties for use to market and promote and have access to advanced game data, which is a technology aspect that is currently being developed.

T-Mobile Arena, owned 42.5% by MGM Resorts International, serves as the home arena for the NHL’s 31st franchise in the Vegas Golden Knights. The Golden Knights in their inaugural season secured a spot in the Stanley Cup Final, one of the most prestigious of NHL events. Las Vegas also has hosted the NHL Awards for the last 10 years, with more years already inked on paper. It only seemed fitting that a deeper union of the National Hockey League, it’s fans, players, and now sports gamblers has been established.

“Our love affair with hockey began over 20 years ago,” stated Murren. “It was then in 1997 that Mr. Anschutz brought the LA Kings to Las Vegas, and for those next 20 odd years we hosted the Frozen Fury at the MGM.” For those not familiar with the Frozen Fury, it was an annual pre-season game played between the LA Kings and Colorado Avalanche (three of the years the Kings had a different opponent) from 1997 – 2016 at the MGM. The annual staple ended when the Vegas Golden Knights began play in the 2017-18 season. The thoughts for a partnership began there. Murren added, “We can now communicate to those great 2.3 million fans of the NHL’s growing database, and to help our fan base, and our loyalty program of 31 million members in our M life program. Fan engagement and sports alignment is really one of the pillars of this relationship.”

This is about branding, fan engagement, access to unseen NHL game data, and opening up the ability to engage fans and sport betting opportunities. Not mention more money. The NHL will not take any of the sports book money, but where there is money made regarding the league, NHL revenue increases. Where there is hockey revenue the players see 50%. Bettman added, “The amount of revenue we are going to generate is secondary to the fan engagement. The technology we’re going to use to create the data we think we’ll be using with our national broadcast partners both in Canada and the US, and the regional broadcast partners, and on steaming digital platforms. The fact that we may be in a position to create data that you can only get from us in real time is a plus in a sports betting environment.”

Commissioner Bettman and Chairman Murren are beyond excited about this partnership, hoping to create a different buzz regarding our beloved sport.

Vegas has recently seen the hockey fan up close and personal for 41 regular season games last season, for the Stanley Cup Playoffs into the Finals, and for the opening few battles of this 2018 campaign. I’m thinking with this partnership Vegas is going to be introduced to many more passionate hockey people in the coming months and years, what do you guys think?!

That is the goal!

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Jackie Daly

Jackie Daly has been with In The Zone since 2012. Her contributions have been mostly in NHL and special events coverage. Jackie has been a writer, video host, and podcast host with ITZ. She currently co-hosts Tea Time with Mel and Jay. Outside ITZ, Jackie works with MLS's New York City Football Club and the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
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